Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said the judiciary is trying to reduce the prison sentences of two Americans being held in Iran.
“The judiciary is trying to manage the issue in a way that will not just see that justice is done but will also avail [the Americans] of Islamic mercy,” Salehi told a press conference on Saturday. ISNA adds that Salehi indicated that the leaders of countries in the region have been mediating for the release of the Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.
Previously, the Iraqi ambassador to Iran reported that Iraqi President Jalal Talebani had been mediating for the release of the two Americans at the request of their families.
Last week, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the American television network NBC that the two U.S. detainees would be released on bail within two days.
The judiciary responded by saying no final decision on the case had been issued by the appellate court, and no other entity is qualified to report on the matter except for its own news outlet.
Now it appears that a new decision has been made, and some analysts say Ahmadinejad may be planning to announce it at the UN General Assembly.
Bauer and Fattal, along with their companion Sarah Shourd, were arrested for illegal entry in July of 2009 in the Iran-Iraq border region. Iranian authorities later added the charge of espionage, but the Americans always claimed they had simply been hiking in the region and inadvertently strayed into Iran.
Sarah Shourd was released on bail of $500,000 last year on medical grounds.
Last month, the preliminary court sentenced Bauer and Fattal to three years in prison for illegal entry and another five years in prison for espionage.